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There’s a certain sense of freedom that comes with having your hand on the throttle, the wind on your face and an open road before you. It’s that delight — of the unknown and unexpected — that makes renting a scooter in a foreign country such a memorable thrill.
In place of a guided tour, my travel companion and I decided to explore Grand Cayman by scooter and cram in as much as we possibly could in a single day. From the Port of George Town, we walked to nearby Cayman Scooters Rental, which conveniently operates inside of the Cayman Coffee Club.
There, we sipped espresso and cold press juice while completing the necessary paperwork. The price for an all-day rental with insurance was an affordable $60 — far less than we would have paid for a package tour. Of course, when exploring this way, there’s no one to hold your hand and show you were to go. What follows is a suggested road map for exploring Grand Cayman based on our experience on two wheels. Pass it along to your adventurous clients or set up a packaged itinerary for them that includes admission fees, lunch and an all-day scooter rental.
Cayman Crystal CavesAbout a 35-minute scooter ride away, the Cayman Crystal Caves await. Here, guests walk inside three very different caves to find stalactite and stalagmite crystal structures, formed by single drops of water and the slow passage of time. A personable guide talks about the history of the region and points out peculiar formations as well as impressive calcium carbonate crystals that seem to sparkle as far as the eye can see.
With great excitement, our guide directed our attention to a corner of the cave. It was pitch-black, and the only source of light came from his flashlight. At the end of the beam of light — hanging upside down and roosting among stalactites — a pair of fruit bats fluttered their wings. Someone in our group shrieked. Luckily, we all walked out of the cave unscathed and soon became desensitized to the dozens of bats we saw throughout the duration of our tour.
The caves have only been open to the public for two years and are still relatively unknown to many travelers who go to Grand Cayman. Admission is $40 per person.
HellIf a local tells you to “go to Hell,” don’t take it the wrong way. Hell, located in in West Bay, is a jagged black limestone and dolomite rock formation that’s millions of years old. It’s worth stopping for a few minutes to check out the rocks and send your friends and family back home a “postcard from Hell” via the adjacent post office. Sure, the rock formations won’t floor you with their uniqueness, but if nothing else, you leave with a funny story to tell your friends back home.
Smith CoveWhen most people think of Grand Cayman, they think of Seven Mile Beach. I, too, thought I had to see it. But to be honest, Seven Mile Beach seemed like just about any other major beach in the Caribbean — pretty but crowded with tourists and watersports activities. Rather than sunbathe with the crowds, opt for the far superior Smith Cove, which is about a 10-minute ride from George Town. Limestone formations flank the beach, creating a protective cove that’s ideal for snorkeling and swimming in turquoise waters. If you don’t have time to hop in the water, at least stop here to snap a few photos — you’ll want to remember this view.
The Lighthouse at Breakers Grand CaymanAfter a day of zooming around in the sun, what could be better than alfresco dining on the waterfront? The Lighthouse at Breakers Grand Cayman, located about a 15-minute ride from the Crystal Caves, is just the place. The restaurant — which was built in 1966 to resemble a lighthouse — specializes in fresh-caught local seafood and Italian dishes with a decidedly Caribbean twist. Menu highlights include conch chowder, lobster tail ravioli and seafood pizza topped with mussels, clams, shrimp, lobster, mozzarella and fresh basil. Patrons rave about the Sunday brunch, but lunch or dinner here any day of the week calls for pumping the breaks and taking in the understated beauty of Grand Cayman.
The DetailsCayman Scooters Rentalwww.caymanscootersrental.com